Not only did Stratton Schulz come out of nowhere to contend in last weeks Utah State Amateur, he literally came from the middle of nowhere, Vernal Utah. UVU now has another break-through athlete to join Brock Winn (rodeo team) as the most recent rising stars to make headlines this past month.
Schulz is a soon to be sophomore and doesn’t even turn 19 until November. What he lacks in experience however, he makes up for with determination and poise. He joined the UVU team out of Uintah High School, where he was a three time all-state golfer, state runner-up in ’09 and ’10, wrestled and, oh yeah, had a 3.7 GPA.
Schulz was recruited by Utah State, SUU, and UVU.
“I chose UVU because I really liked the coach,” Schulz said. “He ended up moving to Arizona, but I liked the school so I decided to stay.”
After accepting a scholarship and one collegiate season, Schulz made a splash on the local scene at the Utah State Amateur Championship.
The Amateur is a match-play event, which differs from how golf is normally scored and ultimately won. Rather than the lowest score winning, it is a head-to-head match-up, with hole-by-hole scoring. The player with the lowest score on the hole goes up one hole. If the other player wins the next hole, the score is even again. Once it becomes mathematically impossible for a comeback, the round ends no matter how many holes are left.
“I’d much rather do match-play,” said Schulz, “It’s more competitive and a lot more fun.”
“It was kind of nerve-racking with all the cameras and people. You kind of just have to find a way to block it out and play your game.” — Stratton Schulz
It almost didn’t come down to a final round or even a tournament appearance for Schulz. The first two rounds were comprised of 284 golfers and the top 32 made up the tournament field. Even after the first two “playoff” rounds, it took a true 16-man playoff to determine the final three spots.
Schulz nabbed one of them with a week’s worth of superb play.
Each of the finalists had played seven rounds by the end of the day Sunday and 29 holes that day alone. By the end of the tourney, Schulz played a pressure-packed 90 plus holes.
In the round of 32, he won by three holes with two remaining, followed by a 4-and-2 win in the round of 16. In the quarterfinal, Schulz defeated former BYU Cougar, Cameron Edens by two holes and rolled into the final by beating Park City native Greg Wojtkun 6 & 5.
After amazing play all week, Schulz was finally slowed a bit and lost 8-and-7 to Jeff Evans (SUU) in a match that ended up not being close at all, finishing just two holes into the back nine.
The Utah State Amateur was the by far the largest tournament that Schulz has ever played in.